SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Roger Strukhoff, Jason Bloomberg

Blog Feed Post

7 Steps to Great APM Dashboards

One of the most highly rated sessions at AppSphere 2016 and again this May at AppD Summit Europe was AppDynamics Senior Sales Engineer Andy Jackson’s dashboard top tips presentation. If you’re an AppDynamics customer, this is a not-to-be missed opportunity to learn how to create dashboards that inform and encourage action. Thought-provoking, educational, and entertaining, Andy delivers a compelling tutorial with real actionable takeaways. 

Eliminating “noise” in the Dashboard

Sharing best practices learnt from supporting multiple enterprise customers, Andy at first explains the inherent challenges with dashboards, namely if it just shows red, it only tells part of the story. He highlights the importance of colors and “noise” — is everything shown in the dashboard relevant, and/or is something missing? If a dashboard shows all problems, all it does is tell you there’s a problem with the application.

There are many pitfalls to avoid, and this session provides best practice guidance, based on processes learnt and dashboards created for enterprise customers.

Dashboard “dos and don’ts”

He starts with a commonly created AppDynamics dashboard featuring key customer journeys and major steps. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 5.32.51 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 5.34.30 PM.png

Andy then asks if something is red, why is it red? We then should go find the problem. Colleagues won’t know if the issue is page loading or Business Transaction response time, so a dashboard needs labels for others to make sense of the data. He explains why graphs are a pet peeve, as they often have no point of reference and are crying out to show the baselining capabilities of AppDynamics.

Andy also dismisses dashboards that just look pretty, but are functionally useless. How much information do you want? How do you want to view it — on a wall or on a desktop, for example?

7 Steps to Take

It’s best to start with a plan, and Andy referenced a series of key steps towards building great dashboards that can be summarized as follows: 

  1. Identify the audience
    Who is the actual audience? Why do you want a dashboard? Prove you need it. What can a dashboard do that isn’t better managed via an SMS alert, an email, or a support ticket raised?

  1. Focus on goals
    What is the desired outcome? Do we want to dive into the problem or keep senior managers happy?

  2. Identify use cases and environments
    Will the dashboard be used interactively or just look pretty on a wall? For example, this has an impact on dashboards that need a mouse to double click, but are expected to be wall-mounted.

  3. Build the end state vision
    Have all stakeholders agreed on the criteria? Do they know what they want to see — e.g., see red for an issue and double click to dive into details, or business metrics to keep a broader, more business-oriented audience happy? Andy suggests that it’s better to start by drawing a draft dashboard.

  4. Use “traditional” design tools
    Visualize the end state dashboard using paper and pen to draw candidate dashboards and solicit feedback — is this what senior managers are envisaging? It’s much easier updating a sketch than revising a fully built-out dashboard after the fact.

  5. Check alignment before moving forward
    Review the plan with the customer, and how you intend to build it. Sell the plan back to the customer — can you achieve all your goals?

  6. Dashboards are dynamic, living things
    Is there any feedback generated by the dashboard? Take a continuous improvement approach — the perfect dashboard is never done. It will change over time and be added to. No updates suggests the dashboard isn’t being used or truly engaged with.

Ideally, customers should follow the “Plan”, “Do”, “Check”, and “Act” stages.

Real-World Examples

 The topic is brought to life by showing examples of good and bad dashboards, including one created for a real customer to track performance on Black Friday, with respective Business Transactions.

If you’re interested in how leading retailer Dixons Carphone Warehouse used AppDynamics to make Black Friday successful for them, read this Forrester report. Graphs are shown to be useful if a dynamic baseline is established so we know if a status is good or bad. An example of how to set this up is shown below:

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 5.46.28 PM.png

The importance of events is then demonstrated by showing exactly what took place that triggered a drop in traffic, for example.

Andy took the audience step-by-step through his favored approach to building a simple yet impactful dashboard with the help of a few encoder and widget sites. An example of one he created is shown below:

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 5.44.48 PM.png

Best explained by watching the presentation, he then shows the specific steps involved in creating an impactful dashboard, such as how an event widget can be very helpful when added to a graph, creating context. While the new 4.3 release does not include extensive new dashboard features, it does have a few real time-savers such as the ability to undo delete.

The session ended with an interactive Q & A, again dispensing valuable guidance on how to create dashboards that really matter.

Don’t Delay Your Dashboard Transformation

There’s much more covered by Andy in his deck, and if you’re interested in building great dashboards (who isn’t?) then it’s well worth watching his presentation, which can be found here — along with the other track sessions from AppD Summit Europe — and it takes less than an hour to watch.

The post 7 Steps to Great APM Dashboards appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog | AppDynamics.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

Latest Stories
Tapping into blockchain revolution early enough translates into a substantial business competitiveness advantage. Codete comprehensively develops custom, blockchain-based business solutions, founded on the most advanced cryptographic innovations, and striking a balance point between complexity of the technologies used in quickly-changing stack building, business impact, and cost-effectiveness. Codete researches and provides business consultancy in the field of single most thrilling innovative te...
Atmosera delivers modern cloud services that maximize the advantages of cloud-based infrastructures. Offering private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, Atmosera works closely with customers to engineer, deploy, and operate cloud architectures with advanced services that deliver strategic business outcomes. Atmosera's expertise simplifies the process of cloud transformation and our 20+ years of experience managing complex IT environments provides our customers with the confidence and trust tha...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City. Our Silicon Valley 2019 schedule will showcase 200 keynotes, sessions, general sessions, power panels, and...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
ShieldX's CEO and Founder, Ratinder Ahuja, believes that traditional security solutions are not designed to be effective in the cloud. The role of Data Loss Prevention must evolve in order to combat the challenges of changing infrastructure associated with modernized cloud environments. Ratinder will call out the notion that security processes and controls must be equally dynamic and able to adapt for the cloud. Utilizing four key factors of automation, enterprises can remediate issues and impro...
Intel is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip maker based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel supplies processors for computer system manufacturers such as Apple, Lenovo, HP, and Dell. Intel also manufactu...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. DevOpsSUMMIT at CloudEXPO expands the DevOps community, enable a wide sharing of knowledge, and educate delegates and technology providers alike.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Industry after industry is under siege as companies embrace digital transformation (DX) to disrupt existing business models and disintermediate their competitor’s customer relationships. But what do we mean by “Digital Transformation”? The coupling of granular, real-time data (e.g., smartphones, connected devices, smart appliances, wearables, mobile commerce, video surveillance) with modern technologies (e.g., cloud native apps, big data architectures, hyper-converged technologies, artificial in...
OpsRamp is an enterprise IT operation platform provided by US-based OpsRamp, Inc. It provides SaaS services through support for increasingly complex cloud and hybrid computing environments from system operation to service management. The OpsRamp platform is a SaaS-based, multi-tenant solution that enables enterprise IT organizations and cloud service providers like JBS the flexibility and control they need to manage and monitor today's hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, and wor...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
The Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (MSAI) provides a comprehensive framework of theory and practice in the emerging field of AI. The program delivers the foundational knowledge needed to explore both key contextual areas and complex technical applications of AI systems. Curriculum incorporates elements of data science, robotics, and machine learning-enabling you to pursue a holistic and interdisciplinary course of study while preparing for a position in AI research, operations, ...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...